Light Up the Dark of Winter

Yes, it’s that time of year again . . . holiday chaos during the spirit-nourishing dark of winter. You may be feeling a little torn between spending days to get the best shopping deals or spending more time in meditation, prayer, and ritual. As a spiritual teacher, you know what I’m most interested in!

Winter brings many opportunities to go more deeply into your spiritual practice. There are many more hours of darkness, and you’ll have less time to engage in outdoor activities. Think about turning off the TV/computer/tablet/phone each evening and surfing your inner being for a while instead of cruising websites for the best Cyber deal. If you get stuck in the house due to stormy weather, seize the moment and create a ritual that will advance your energy healing.

For example, tune in to the transformational properties of the element of fire. Watch the dancing flames in a fireplace as wood turns to smoke and ash, and feel your impurities burning away, sweeping clean the inner space for Source to manifest more clearly. Or light seven candles—one for each of your main chakras—and take the time to sit in each chakra, communing with the flame of that candle as you experience the places you are still stuck as well as the energy centers that are humming along for you. At this time of year, think of starting at the crown chakra and bringing the energy down through the remaining chakras—the way spirit manifests through thicker layers of physicality as it descends from the higher realms into the earth, birthing your own Christ consciousness in your body.

Even though the holiday lights may be sparkling brightly everywhere you look, you may be going through a difficult time. The holidays bring up all sorts of emotional stickiness. Did you have someplace to go for Thanksgiving dinner, or were you home alone and unhappy about your solitude? Did you have a large family gathering where you spent all day avoiding Uncle Harry, the one who fondled you as a teen, or your alcoholic sister-in-law, who hasn’t spoken to you since you suggested she go to AA? Do you have family plans for Christmas or Hanukkah? What about New Year’s Eve—the bellwether of your social life?

Use this emotional stew to clear up some old patterns in how you relate to others, especially family. As one sage has said: if you think you’re enlightened, go home for Christmas and see how long your enlightenment lasts! If you feel hopeless about doing this deep emotional work yourself, sign up for healing courses in energy medicine so you start the new year with a commitment to become the new you. Energy medicine clears out the old toxic emotions.

The approach of the new year and the annual “return of the light” awaits. Now is the time to prepare to let your spirit soar! Maybe this is the year you will expand your horizons, both inner and outer. Maybe this is the year you will learn to use your spiritual gifts.

Let’s go back for a moment to the image of sitting in front of a candle. There is a spiritual practice called tratak that involves lighting a candle so the flame is at eye level. Sit quietly and look through your eyes, not with them. Let your spirit dance with the flame. Envision your own aura as you watch the circle of light that surrounds the flame. Relax deeply, and you might just find yourself heading down a dark tunnel and out into an experience of astral travel. Or you can pull the light of the flame into your heart chakra, illuminating the blaze of love in your heart.

Most of all, in the depths of winter darkness, go deep inside to listen to your intuition—the “gut feeling” that always knows best. If everything in you wants to blast old rock ‘n roll songs and dance till you drop instead of sitting cross-legged and staring at a candle flame, by all means, sing along and shake that booty. Dancing and singing are two wonderful ways to release negative states.

There are really no rules for what you may need at any given moment in time in order to release old constricted energy and open up new vistas in which Spirit can shine. You, and your Higher Self, know what you need. Listen to that inner voice!